Salt of the earth
Don’t be afraid of salt, just make sure you use sea salt for its elements and minerals
Salt is so vital to our lives that we have woven it into our language - salary, salacious, salad, soldier - and we have actually fought wars over it. But with sea salt, we’ve gone a little bit further. Processed salt may have influenced our language and lead us into battle, but natural sea salt contains numerous elements, and elements are something we humans have worshipped.
The Elements: the iron in our blood, the hydrogen in a molecule of water, the oxygen in our lungs, also include magnesium, potassium, calcium and a host of others, and all of these elements are present in sea salt.
Elements are created with the power of incredible heat, and heat incredible enough to create an element only happens every ten or so million years, when a star explodes into a supernova. Elements are finite and precious, which is just one reason why we should celebrate sea salt. When sea salt is properly made, it contains over sixty of them, including silver.
Salt, and especially sea salt, is good for you. You may have read that sentence disbelievingly, so perhaps I should write it again. Salt is good for you.
Without salt, you would die. Sodium chloride gives our bodies the ability to digest (from the chloride) and the ability to transport nutrients, transmit nerve impulses and move muscles, including the heart. We need to replace this body seasoning constantly. Without salt we would experience headaches, weakness, nausea and finally death. But we don’t crave salt because we need it, we crave it because we like it.
Too much salt is bad for you, and the way most of us ingest salt is actually through foods like biscuits and factory bread and other processed foods. This salt is bad salt, but a sprinkle of Irish sea salt on some spuds (yes, go on, add a knob of butter!) is definitely good for you.
In Ireland salt was always valued. It was essential as a preservative in the days before mass refrigeration. Before corner shops, neighbours in Ireland used to borrow things from each other and it was said that anything borrowed had to be returned. Anything, that is, except salt. If you asked for salt, it was given as a gift, and not expected to be replaced.
We may have used and shared a lot of it, but salt was never produced in Ireland. That has now changed. There are now three companies in Ireland manufacturing sea salt from the clean waters that surround our island.